Abel Mattoon's FAN Club



Genealogists are familiar with the term “FAN Club”. When working on solving a problem of identity, relationship or date, we look to the actions of friends, associates, and neighbors for clues or proof to our conclusion. Consider adding another group to “F”, extended family. Sometimes I hesitate to add the husband of my second great aunt to my family, but I have learned that it is a mistake not to add that person.

FAN Club Includes "Collaterals"

“Collaterals—the family members from whom one does not descend—are just as important to research as the direct line.”[2]

Think about that for a moment. How many times have you looked at a will or a deed where the signature of a witness does not match any of the names in your direct line? Upon investigation, you realize that “Joe Blow” married the sister of your ancestor “Bob Smith”. In my family, as well as in yours, that brother-in-law frequently was, or became, a trusted friend, member of the family and business associate.

FAN Club in 1840 Census                                          

The 1840 U.S. Census of Bloomfield Township includes Philip, Allen, Abel, John P., Runa Mattoon, David Cutting and Nicholas Wells; all living next door to each other.[3]   


Why is this interesting? Let’s take a look at some of the Mattoon family.

Philip Mattoon



Abel Mattoon

Malinda Mattoon m. Nicholas Wells

Allen Mattoon

Mary Ethel Mattoon m. David Cutting

Aruna “Runa” Mattoon

Oran Mattoon

Orilla Mattoon m. Jones [Jonas] Cutting

FAN Club Marriages

Malinda Mattoon and Nicholas Wells had married in 1834 and Mary Ethel Mattoon and David Cutting wed in 1838. Additionally, Orilla Ann Mattoon married Jones [Jonas] Cutting , probably a brother of David Cutting in 1843, so Wells and the Cuttings were already part of Abel’s “FAN Club”.[4]

FAN Club Settle Together

In the spring of 1847, the Lot Whitcomb train of 115 wagons left St. Joseph, Missouri for Oregon. Eight of Philip and Betsey Mattoon’s nine grown children and their families were part of the train.[5]

“In 1843, non-native settlers in the Willamette Valley had established a provisional government and allowed settlers to claim up to 640 acres of land at no charge. When the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, those claims were nullified. Obviously, the settlers needed some way to obtain title to the land they had traveled so far to claim. The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 recognized past claims granted under the provisional government and authorized grants of 320 acres of federal land to white male citizens 18 years of age or older who resided on the land prior to December 1, 1850. If married before December 1, 1851, a couple received an additional 320 acres in the wife’s name. Recipients agreed to live on and cultivate the allotment for four consecutive years, which could be counted retroactively.” [6]

FAN Club Affirm One Another

Affidavits accompanying Abel Mattoon’s application for an Oregon Donation Land Claim were signed by Asa Stone and Nicholas Wells. [7] 


The Mattoons and their neighbors settled in and began planting crops, orchards and kitchen gardens in the rich soil of the Willamette valley. In 1853, Oran Mattoon married Emily Bidwell, and in 1858, J.P. Mattoon [John Prentiss] married his neighbor Martha, the daughter of George and Gerushia Hicenbotham.[9]

David Cutting died in 1868. Among the appraisers named of his estate was his father-in-law, Abel Mattoon.[10]

David and Mary Cutting’s daughter Eliza married George and Gerushia Hicenbotham’s son George in 1870 expanding the web still further.[11]

Abel Mattoon was my husband’s 2nd Great-Grandfather. His FAN Club extends down to the present day, but that is the subject of much more research and another article.

FAN Club Membership: Long-lasting

I am preparing lists of documents to search for in Oregon repositories. I will be traveling to Oregon as soon as pandemic restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, I am thankful for the online resources that are becoming available every day.

Happy Hunting!


Barbara Mattoon

President, South King County Genealogical Society 

Tags: Clackamas, Cutting, donation land, FAN Club, Hickenbotham, Mattoon, Oregon

[1] Image courtesy Pixabay.

[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Roundabout Research: Pursuing Collateral Lines to Prove Parentage of a Direct Ancestor—Samuel Hanson of Frontier Georgia.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 91 (March 2003) : p. 30, PDF Download. Elizabeth Shown Mills. Historic Pathways. https://www.historicpathways.com : accessed 19 November 2020.

[3] 1840 U.S. Census, LaGrange County, Indiana, Bloomfield Township, p 322 (penned) , lines 13 thru 19; NARA microfilm publication M704 Record G.

[4] Michigan , Compiled Marriages, 1817-1850, Malinda Mattoon-Nicholas Wells Marriage, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 25 November 2020. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 25 November 2020), LaGrange>1832-1843 Volume0>image70 of 115; Marriage of Mary Mattoon - David Cutting, Indiana Commission.

[5] Stephanie Flora and Nancy Prevost compilers, “Emigrants To Oregon in 1847 Listing for Surnames M – Z,”oregonpioneers.com : accessed 24 November 2020).

[6] Margaret Riddle, “Donation Land Claim Act, spur to American settlement of Oregon Territory, takes effect on September 26, 1850,” History Link.org, (Historylink.org/File/9501 : accessed 24 November 2020).

[7] “Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, Volume II,” Genealogical Forum of Oregon, 1959, database and images online, image 265, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 25 November 2020).

[8] U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898,” Ancestry (http:ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2179/images30656_100133-00112?pid=16556 : accessed 25 November 2020)

[9] Tualatin Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, “Early Marriage Records, Clackamas County, Wasco County, Oregon,” (Oswego, Oregon 1960), Ancestry; (http://ancestry.com : accessed 25 November 2020). 

[10] “Oregon, Wills and Probate Records, 1849-1963,” Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 25 November 2020). 

[11] “1900 U.S. Census,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7602/images/4118724_00605?pId=68406956 : accessed 26 November 2020). Entry for George Hicinbotham (age56), Viola Precinct, Clackamas County, Oregon, citing “NARA microfilm publication T623”. 


  1. I enjoy your fine writing and research, Barbara! Thank you for sharing it with us


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